The Party Made of Straw Goes Strawman Hunting

St Louis with Arch Night Skyline wallpaper

Black and White Skyline wallpaper,St Louis Missouri.

Lawyers, Guns and Money on Bobby Jindal and volcanoes,

As the governor of a geologically-vulnerable state, you’d think Jindal would have a bit more sense than that, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the new GOP — now with 50 percent more crazy — this past year has given us

50 percent is generous. I think they’re doubling down on the crazy. A sitting Republican Senator from the great state of Alabama expressed doubts about President Obama’s citizenship and a guy whose family was once on public assitance and went on to be an uncertified plumber was invited to address the far-right Americans for Tax Reform. To their credit the bloggers at the Conservative The Next Right laments the Joe-the-Plumberization of the GOP. So one might get the impression that this blogger understands that Republicans, the party that became more beholden to a laundry list of wacky beliefs rather then the Conservatism of Lincoln, but no,

Put another way, Republicans thrive as the party of normal Americans — the people in the middle culturally and economically. This is true of our leadership as well — we have a history of nominating figures who came first from outside politics. Our base is the common-sense voter in the middle who bought a house she could afford and didn’t lavishly overspend in good times and who is now subsidizing the person who didn’t.

Jindal, Shelby, Bush, Limbaugh, etc are normal? A party that is defined by its clowns and public disdain for science and rationalism will have a hard time convincing anyone that they should be the final arbiters of normal. Then is a deep gulp of irony, without missing a beat claims that every single house foreclosure is that of a Democrat or Independent. Every single Republican in the U.S. is a brilliant upstanding citizen who in every instance always conducts their affairs in the most ethical and financially responsible manner  – amidst the various collapses, housing and financial – Republicans are pure as the driven snow bystanders. Sounds more like a 18th century fairy tale then the facts – from October 2008

FSA had plenty of company. It’s now been conclusively established [4] that there were “serious deficiencies” in how the SEC regulated Bear Stearns. An inspector general’s report found that the SEC was aware of “numerous potential red flags prior to Bear Stearns’ collapse, regarding its concentration of mortgage securities, high leverage, shortcomings of risk management in mortgage-backed securities and lack of compliance with the spirit of certain [international reporting] standards, but did not take actions to limit these risk factors.”

Yet SEC Chairman Christopher Cox still has his job and has yet to acknowledge that his agency did anything wrong—or, indeed, to say anything germane about how the crisis came about, aside from blaming short-sellers. (He did issue a statement [5] saying that voluntary regulation doesn’t work, skipping conveniently over the fact that the Bush administration pushed through the very voluntary program he cited.) Would acting on these red flags have prevented the collapse of Bear Stearns and shone a critical light on similar flaws elsewhere? There’s no way to know. Would apologizing bring it back? Of course not. But it shouldn’t be this hard for the officials, public and private, involved in the destruction of hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth to admit that something went wrong and promise to better in the future. It’s ironic that with the scope of the crisis so vast, we get less in the form of accountability than we’d expect from a minor felon in a sentencing hearing or even a celebrity going into rehab.

Its standard operating procedure with Conservatives – never apologize and never admit fault. Since human beings are by nature fallible and as far as we know Republicans are flesh and blood, something is severely wrong with a political movement that either cannot or will not admit its humanity. Its a twisted kind of nihilism – Republicans are trapped in the black hole of their own self delusions. Who better to prove that point then the Conservative Zeus, Karl Rove – Obama’s Straw Men, Why does he routinely ascribe to opponents views they don’t espouse?

President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of “straw men.” Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don’t espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates.

The party that thinks itself almost divine in its perfection and is self-righteous in it’s denial of the most blatant and obvious immorality – that ranges from merely incompetent to arrogant and cruel, must logically have the biggest arsenal of strawmen. Country in financial straights – not their fault – it is the fault of the nebulous other. Not as simple as two plus two, but close. Karl Rove: Self-deluded or consciously dishonest?

The President And The Straw Man

‘Some Say’ But Bush Won’t Say Who When Arguing Policy Points

When the president starts a sentence with “some say” or offers up what “some in Washington” believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Mr. Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he “strongly disagrees,” conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making. . . .

A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as “a bizarre kind of double talk” that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.

“It’s such a phenomenal hole in the national debate that you can have arguments with nonexistent people,” Fields said. “All politicians try to get away with this to a certain extent. What’s striking here is how much this administration rests on a foundation of this kind of stuff” . . . .

Mr. Bush has caricatured the other side for years, trying to tilt legislative debates in his favor or score election-season points with voters. . . .

Campaigning for Republican candidates in the 2002 midterm elections, the president sought to use the congressional debate over a new Homeland Security Department against Democrats.

He told at least two audiences that some senators opposing him were “not interested in the security of the American people.” In reality, Democrats balked not at creating the department, which Mr. Bush himself first opposed, but at letting agency workers go without the usual civil service protections. . . .

Straw men have made more frequent appearances in recent months, often on national security, once Mr. Bush’s strong suit with the public but at the center of some of his difficulties today. . . .

Recently defending his decision to allow the National Security Agency to monitor without subpoenas [sic] the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorist ties, Mr. Bush has suggested that those who question the program underestimate the terrorist threat.

There’s some in America who say, ‘Well, this can’t be true there are still people willing to attack,”‘ Mr. Bush said during a January visit to the NSA.

The president has relied on straw men, too, on the topics of taxes and trade, issues he hopes will work against Democrats in this fall’s congressional elections. . . .

Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world,” he said this month in India, talking about the migration of U.S. jobs overseas. “I strongly disagree

Another time he said, “Some say that if you’re Muslim you can’t be free.”

“There are some really decent people,” the president said earlier this year, “who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care … for all people.”

Of course, hardly anyone in mainstream political debate has made such assertions.

Glenn notes one of Bush’s most infamous strawman speech’s, the contents of which have been repeated ad neaseum by the Right,“We believe our nation has the right to defend itself — even if sometimes others disagree.” Yes, if we searched hard enough we could probably find an old John Bircher right-winger, or extreme libertarian or leftists who could care less about defending America and wears their tin foil to bed, but there is no one in any practical sense that is against defending America. Bush used that Rovian tactic to deflect from criticism of his claim to have super unitary authority to break laws and side step the Constitution as he saw fit. We’ve come to call this Rovian, but the Right’s movement has been based on strawman arguments for decades.

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